The changes Brian Ferentz has made in Hawkeyes' run game

Chad Leistikow

IOWA CITY – One layer of the Iowa football onion regarding the question, "What does the run-game coordinator do?" was peeled back Wednesday.

Hawkeye running backs coach Chris White said the promotion of Brian Ferentz to that role has resulted in more cohesive communication between the offensive line, running backs and tight ends.

Instead of convening separately, Ferentz has them all in the same meeting room.

Warning: White's answers are a little technical, but they also provide a glimpse into the run-game coordinator role that head coach Kirk Ferentz said a few weeks ago was "more of a title than anything" for his son, who also coaches the Iowa offensive line.

Offensive coordinator Greg Davis is still the play-caller.

"We're hearing one voice from the run coordinator on, 'This is how this ties in with the O-line. This is what the coach is telling the back, and you need to know that he's pressing the hole here. He's reading this. These are the line calls. This is how it all ties in together,' " White said. "Brian's done an outstanding job with that. He sees the big picture clearer than most coaches his age do. He's a very, very talented coach."

Brian Ferentz, who turned 32 in late March, is in his fourth year at Iowa after spending four years with the New England Patriots.

Brian has not been available for media interviews since his promotion was announced in mid-February, but he is scheduled to meet with reporters on April 15.

So, White's insight was the first on how Brian's new role is going.

White said he has been asking Davis and Brian about putting in a lag-draw running play for Akrum Wadley, "who ripped off a couple the other day." That's one example of how communication has improved.

While scheme changes aren't at hand – Iowa's zone-blocking scheme in the running game has been a Kirk Ferentz staple in his 16-plus years – Brian is bringing more new looks this spring.

"We're getting more multiple," White said. "If you watch us on Saturday (at the 12:30 p.m. open practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines), you'll see the tight ends being dispersed more in different spots. You'll see wide receivers moving around a little bit more. Those are the kind of the things we've worked on this spring."